Saturday, April 25, 2009

Judge Bybee is Sorry

I read this Washington Post article this morning and just said, "Well, he has much to be sorry about, but it is too late." He was the key principle that signed off on the torture memos for the Bush Administration. He has legitimate gripe and should feel used by that administration, but being sorry at this time means nothing. Look where we are at? Sorry? Too bad, so sad, too late.

It was, in the private room of a public restaurant, the kind of joyless judgment that some friends and associates say the jurist arrived at well before the public release of four additional memos last week and the resulting uproar that has engulfed Washington. One of the documents, dated Aug. 1, 2002, offered a helpfully narrow definition of torture to the CIA and soon became known as the "Bybee memo," because it bore his signature.

"I've heard him express regret at the contents of the memo," said a fellow legal scholar and longtime friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity while offering remarks that might appear as "piling on." "I've heard him express regret that the memo was misused. I've heard him express regret at the lack of context -- of the enormous pressure and the enormous time pressure that he was under. And anyone would have regrets simply because of the notoriety."

That notoriety worsened this week as the documents -- detailing the acceptable application of waterboarding, "walling," sleep deprivation and other procedures the Bush administration called "enhanced interrogation methods" -- prompted calls from human rights advocates and other critics for criminal investigations of the government lawyers who generated them.

Of the three former Justice Department lawyers associated with the memos, the public's attention has focused particularly harshly on Bybee because of his position as a sitting federal judge; John C. Yoo, who largely wrote the Bybee memo, returned to academic life, and Steven G. Bradbury, who signed three memos, resumed private practice at the end of the Bush administration.

Well, the public has a right to question Bybee. He is a sitting judge and as we know, judges make decisions and we can not help but question Bybee because his decision of signing off on these torture memos was a bad one. A very bad one indeed.

But for me, Bybee is only a low member of a very high totem pole. This is all about the Bush White House and how they crafted the use of torture to sell to the public. This all stinks of high heaven, but hang on, the best is still yet to come from all of this.

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